Crusing The Society Islands, French Polynesia

The Society Islands…jagged mountains, white sand seashores, over-water bungalows, tropical forests, sounds of ukuleles, and smells of gardenia…it’s a honeymoon dreamland. However too usually, {couples} fly from Tahiti to Bora Bora and miss the unbelievable islands in between! Conserving with the seafaring custom of Polynesia, a small ship is arms down the easiest way to discover this gorgeous archipelago, so we joined Windstar Cruises for a Society Islands honeymoon journey! Not your typical boat (there’s solely a handful on the planet), the Wind Spirit is a four-masted, motorized crusing yacht that rides the breeze to extend pace, scale back gasoline, add romance, and honor the artwork of crusing. Plus, there have been lower than 100 folks on board and simply as many workers (together with their spa specialists, mixologists, water-sport crew, and James-Beard-Basis-trained cooks) so we knew we’d be in good arms throughout our seven-day crusing. See the place we went, what we did, and why we fell in love with yacht life within the Society Islands.

MSY Wind Spirit

Windstar Wind Spirit Sailing yacht

In Tahiti’s Papeete harbor, we noticed the MSY Wind Spirit with its six sails, picket railings, and pointed bow, and bought giddy for the week forward. It seemed extra like a traditional tall ship than the cruise selection and simply our pace. On the finish of the pier and crimson carpet, Captain Lubo and Common Supervisor D’Souza had been ready to personally welcome us aboard. With our baggage already delivered to our room, we got down to discover the 4 decks throughout this 360-foot-long ship. Two eating places, a lounge, espresso bar, library, health heart, spa, boutique, watersports platform, pool bar, sundecks, and 73 staterooms, it had all the pieces {couples} (learn: no little children allowed) may need whereas protecting a small footprint. We reached our room and our “butler” Yadi was there to provide us a tour of our nautical stylish area with a queen mattress, seating space, ample storage, sound system, mini bar, and spacious lavatory. He left us with a bottle of champagne to toast our keep and tell us he was accessible for something we wanted.

Setting Sail

society island shoneymoon

Getting dressed for dinner, we heard the cinematic music “Conquest of Paradise” come on the loudspeaker. That is the sound of Windstar’s signature sail-away when everybody gathers on the highest deck to observe the sails unfurl and lift a glass to an ideal day and people forward. We went upstairs, waved goodbye to Tahiti basking within the sundown glow, then to dinner on the unbelievable Amphora restaurant. Windstar is the official cruise line of the James Beard Basis, which signifies that every day’s menu options recipes by the inspiration’s award-winning cooks and is ready to their five-star requirements. We sat down at a comfy crescent sales space below the glow of a Murano glass chandelier, and Chef and 5x cookbook writer Darin Epp got here to our desk. He knew we had been vegan with out us saying a phrase, and had an extended listing of suggestions for a scrumptious plant-based meal. He ready a tofu that was the closest factor to sea bass we’ve had since our pescatarian days and a Thai-inspired “Bang-Bang Cauliflower” that introduced us again to Bangkok. As we ate the final chew of our suave dessert and swooned, Darin stated, “Simply wait till Friday…I’m creating an eight-course vegan dinner for you.”

Mo’orea: Straight out of Moana

Society island honeymoon

We awakened with the solar and out of our porthole window we noticed the luxurious inexperienced and jagged peaks of Mo’orea capturing out of the ocean. I shortly bought dressed, grabbed a cappuccino and pastry on the espresso bar, and went to the highest deck to observe arguably French Polynesia’s most stunning isle draw nearer. All of the islands listed here are volcanic in origin however, being among the many youngest within the chain (at 2 million years outdated) Mo’orea has nothing weathered about it with sheer cliffs, skinny bays, and a hanging silhouette. To assist friends discover and revel in every island, we may take the Windstar tender to enterprise out on our personal (hire bikes, store the native markets, go to museums, and many others.) or we may join a myriad of excursions—from scuba diving to picture safaris. For cultural and geological overview, we did a improbable tour to Belvedere Lookout’s sweeping vista, the oldest European church within the South Pacific, the Gump Analysis Station for sustainability science, and the sacred Polynesian ruins of Marae Ti’i-rua. Within the afternoon, we went dolphin and whale watching with considered one of French Polynesia’s premier marine biologists, Dr. Michael Poole, whose analysis and advocacy has resulted in a lot of the nation’s laws defending these marine mammals. We realized all in regards to the fascinating spinner dolphins and this newly found humpback breeding floor, then noticed each species in motion! When the time got here for the Wind Spirit to unfurl its sails and depart Mo’orea, we had been already planning our return.

Raiatea: The Coronary heart of the Polynesian Triangle

Society Islands Honeymoon

The Islands of Tahiti are the middle of the Polynesian Triangle which stretches from Hawaii to Easter Island to New Zealand, and the island of Raiatea is on the non secular coronary heart of all of it. It’s additionally house to unbelievable scuba diving and the nation’s solely navigable river (Windstar presents each of these excursions), however its true star is the UNESCO World Heritage Website of Taputapuātea. This historic marae complicated is the place chiefs, clergymen, and warriors from throughout the Pacific would journey by way of canoe to collect for a very powerful ceremonies. Our native information Tara picked us up, and her ardour for Polynesian tradition was infectious. She regaled us with tales of her childhood spent chasing land crabs and climbing tropical fruit timber. She made stops at a small-family “copra” (aka dried coconut) operations and black pearl farms to assist us perceive these staples of the nation’s financial system. In the end, she walked us by Taputapuātea for a tour that gave us a deeper appreciation of Polynesia past French borders. To high off our day of cultural immersion, the ship invited a neighborhood troupe onboard to show conventional dances, floral-crown making, palm-frond weaving and set the tone for that night time’s Tahitian BBQ below the celebs.

Taha’a: The Vanilla Island & Motu Mahea

taha'a society islands

Crusing from Raiatea to Taha’a, the colour of the water appeared to affect. Transferring into the shallower depths, navy blue light to teal to turquoise over the white sand. We had reached “The Vanilla Island,” the place 70% of French Polynesia’s famed beans develop. An area tour boat pulled as much as our anchorage with a ukulele musician, setting the great island vibes for our day. We walked down the principle road of charming Taha’a and will scent the vanilla within the air, combined with hibiscus and gardenia from the gardens of the few thousand inhabitants. We arrived at a family-run plantation and bought the lowdown straight from the vanilla farmer’s mouth. The bean comes from a hand-pollinated flower, takes 9 months to develop, dries within the solar for six weeks, then cures for 2 months earlier than it’s the vanilla we all know and love. After the 101 course, we walked the plantation and sampled all kinds of vanilla merchandise, recent from one of many best producers on the planet. On the way in which again to the ship, we made a seemingly harmless snorkel cease solely to appreciate it was teeming with blacktip reef sharks and stingrays! By no means had we seen so many sharks, however we took the information’s phrase that they had been pleasant and jumped in. It was an unbelievable expertise and we now have all our fingers and toes to point out for it! For lunch, relatively than return to the ship, the Windstar crew introduced a full-on BBQ feast, water sports activities, and therapeutic massage tables to the non-public island of Motu Mahea for a day of enjoyable.

Actions Aboard The Wind Spirit

society islands honeymoon

We aren’t the kind to sit down nonetheless very lengthy, so we appreciated that tons of actions is also discovered on board. The Wind Spirit’s water sports activities platform had all the pieces from kayaks, to SUP boards, trampolines, and even wakeboards with a pace boat to zip you round. In addition they had fascinating applications all through the day, from cocktail-making classes to Polynesian storytelling, reside music (we cherished our resident musician, Alex Mel!), and the large workers expertise present. And once we did wish to sit nonetheless, it may very well be in a scorching tub or solar chaise watching the islands go by.

Bora Bora Bliss

bora bora society islands honeymoon

The subsequent morning we awakened and noticed Mount Otemanu framed completely in our porthole…we had reached the legendary Bora Bora. Since everybody needs to know this honeymoon isle a bit of higher, we anchored in its lagoon for 2 days and bought whisked away on an outrigger in the future and a dive boat the following. Skimming alongside the water, we handed palm-fringed islets, over-water bungalows, and a lot marine life! We jumped in for a number of snorkeling classes within the coral gardens bursting with colour and tropical fish. For lunch, we stopped on Pitu Island, the place our guides had a formidable unfold of conventional meals (Poisson cru, taro root, coconut bread, plantains, and poe pumpkin for dessert). No plastic plates right here, they hand-wove palm fronds for eco-friendly serving platters. We ate at picnic tables with the water lapping and curious rays swimming at our toes. To high it off, we left the island with new Tahitian abilities and souvenirs—from studying to open coconuts with a keep on with tie-dying materials for pareo (local-style sarongs). Watch our Instagram Reels from our time in Bora Bora or see extra footage on this Fb gallery.

Diving French Polynesia

society islands honeymoon diving

French Polynesia is famous for scuba diving, but by some means there are only a few liveaboard outfitters. Windstar turned out to be the very best of each worlds, with all of the luxuries of a cruise AND all of the dive store connections across the islands. We dove in Bora Bora and Raiatea and doubtless ought to have added Mo’orea, the marinelife was so unbelievable. Swimming alongside vibrant coral with colleges of manta rays, numerous blacktip reef sharks, enormous Napoleon wrasse, and extra tropical fish than we may presumably listing, we bought one thing means higher than a liveaboard.

Renewing Our Vows!

society islands honeymoon

With romance within the air and our Tenth-year on honeymoon on the horizon, what higher place to resume our vows than a crusing yacht in Bora Bora! The Windstar crew reserved the bow of the ship for our ceremony, adorned it with tropical flowers, and met us of their best maritime apparel. We walked down the aisle to our unique marriage ceremony music (“Eternally” by Ben Harper) to satisfy our officiant, Captain Lubo. Surrounded by palm-fringed islets, sheer mountains, and water in each shade of blue, we recited our unique vows, lower the cake, and toasted to the wild romance of our ten years collectively. So as to add to the celebration, that night time Windstar threw a personal island celebration, with an elaborate Polynesian feast and cultural spectacular. The Tahitian dance troupe placed on an unbelievable present—from drumming and fire-throwing to hip shakes at unfathomable speeds. We clearly knew this soiree wasn’t only for us, however it was such a big day that it felt that means.


Huahine: The Backyard Isle

sailing the society islands

Crusing to our final cease within the Societies was bittersweet, however Huahine’s twin islands had been too fairly to let melancholy get in the way in which. Huahine Nui is the bigger of the 2 isles with historic fishing villages, artisan markets, sacred marae websites, whereas Huahine Iti has been left largely wild. We’re all about nature so we joined the e-bike tour round Iti. In simply three hours, we pedaled 18 miles by the mountains, barely breaking a sweat, and nonetheless needed to time to cease at a formidable marae complicated, take pictures of the island’s attractive bays, and stroll its white sand seashores. Again onboard, surrounded by attractive mountains, we seen that we had been the one ship within the bay…and it had been like that every one week. The Wind Spirit was nimble sufficient to navigate the smaller coves and all the time make us really feel like we had every place to ourselves. With bathing fits on and a pair of Hinano beers in hand, we soaked up the solar and the serenity.

Society Islands Honeymoon and Past

Society Island Windstar Cruises

Our final 24 hours aboard, we dined, danced, and laughed with new associates like there was no tomorrow. Everybody was in good spirits as a result of all of us felt we made the best transfer for this once-in-a-lifetime journey. Certain, we may have flown to some isles and stayed in an over-water bungalow for our Society Islands honeymoon, however this archipelago is completely meant to be explored by small ship. Hugging these attractive shorelines, snorkeling distant corners of the reef, beachcombing non-public islands, exploring with native guides, and eating like kings was all completed seamlessly and with out spending a fortune. These spread-out and dear islands will be difficult to navigate by yourself (belief us, we spent seven weeks in French Polynesia) so it simply made sense to wrap up our transportation, lodging, and eating into one fairly bundle. That may very well be stated of many cruises, however Windstar is completely different in that it nonetheless embraces native tradition, fosters journey, and provides friends a ton of independence, all whereas having unbelievable workers on the prepared. We wish to give enormous props to the Wind Spirit crew. They knew friends by title, remembered dietary quirks, turned something (be it cappuccino foam or tub towels) into artwork, tracked down misplaced cellphones an island away, and made us really feel comfy, be it below sail or strolling down the aisle.

Our solely remorse is just not taking an extended journey on the Wind Spirit. There’s a 10-day model of this itinerary that features the Tuamotu Archipelago, with its 76 atoll islands, legendary diving, and distinct Polynesian tradition. That stated, we’d simply go wherever with their crusing yachts and crew…the place to subsequent South America, the Caribbean, Europe? Till subsequent time, Windstar…many thanks and bon voyage!

Wish to see extra of our pictures and movies from our Society Islands journey? Take a look at our Instagram Spotlight reel.

Be aware: Windstar Cruises invited us to be their friends on this Society Islands crusing and compensated us for our storytelling. As all the time, all opinions are our personal…we had such an unforgettable journey!

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